The cornea is the clear outer layer at the font of the eye. It helps your eye to focus light so you can see clearly. The cornea is susceptible to a variety of conditions ranging from dry eye to various dystrophies. These issues may cause pain and discomfort as well as interfere with your ability to see clearly. At Avery Eye Clinic, serving Montgomery county and the surrounding region, we offer solutions to correct these problems.
About the Cornea
Your cornea is the transparent layer forming the front of the eye. This part of your eye has five different layers, each serving a unique purpose. The cornea consists of cells, proteins, and fluids that keep your eyes free of germs and debris. Not only does it protect your lens and iris, but it also has an impact on your vision. It's responsible for between 65 to 70 percent of the focusing power your eye has. It doesn't have any blood vessels, so it relies on tears and the aqueous humor to provide it with nourishment.
Possible Problems With Your Cornea
Usually, a minor injury or scratch to your cornea will heal on its own. However, deeper injuries may cause you to have scarring. You might notice a haze on your cornea. An injury may also cause pain, headaches, nausea, fatigue, sensitivity to light, reduced vision, blurry vision, redness, or inflammation.
A fungus, bacteria, or parasite could cause keratitis, which is when your cornea becomes inflamed. It could also occur from an injury or keeping your contacts in for a prolonged amount of time.
If you have dry eye, you may notice your eyes are red and inflamed. In addition, you may notice you have a burning or stinging pain. Some people experience issues with their vision. Dry eye stems from either your eyes not producing enough tears or making poor quality tears.
Additionally, Avery Eye Clinic treats corneal dystrophies including keratoconus, Fuchs' dystrophy, and lattice dystrophy. Corneal dystrophy occurs when one or more areas of your cornea have a reduction in clarity. It happens because of buildup clouding the cornea. Usually, it's inherited and progresses gradually.
One example is keratoconus. It causes your cornea to thin, and as it does, it causes double vision, blurred vision, nearsightedness, light sensitivity, and astigmatism. It causes the cells in the endothelium of your cornea to deteriorate.
The endothelial cells in your cornea have fluid, but in someone with Fuchs', the cells die and fluid builds up. You may experience swelling, glare, distorted vision, difficulty seeing at night, and blurred vision as a result.
Lattice dystrophy causes deposits in the stroma of your cornea that look like lattice. The deposits are comprised of amyloid, which is an abnormal protein fiber. Over time, these deposits cause vision impairment. It may alter the curvature of the cornea and cause pain.
How We Treat Corneal Disorders
Treatment for corneal disorders varies based on the issue that's affecting your cornea. For instance, if you have severe damage to your cornea due to an injury or condition, you may require a cornea transplant. During this procedure, you receive corneal tissue from a donor that replaces your damaged tissue. You may also undergo a surgical procedure to implant an artificial cornea.
For infections and dry eye, you may receive prescription eye drops to correct the problem. Antibiotic eye drops correct bacterial infections while artificial tears may hydrate your eyes.
Patients who have irregular curvature in their cornea, like those who have keratoconus, may undergo a laser procedure that corrects the curvature of the eye. One laser procedure is known as phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK). This procedure uses a combination of laser technology and UV light. It reshapes the cornea and restores it too.
Some patients benefit from prescription eyewear alone. Generally though, this is only effective in the early stages of a condition. Once the problem worsens, other treatments are necessary.